A screenshot of the Facebook Messenger Unsend Popup.

For most of 2018, Facebook was working behind the scenes to create a Facebook Messenger unsend feature which would allow you to permanently delete messages you’ve sent to others from both your side of the conversation and theirs. The unsend feature is live now in the Facebook Messenger Android mobile app.

Below, we’re going to show you how the feature works. However, before we get into that, you need to know about the limitations present within Facebook Messenger unsend. Although this new tool will be helpful for retracting messages you regret sending, it will not be nearly as powerful as you might have expected it to be.

The biggest limitation with Facebook Messenger unsend is that you only have a 10-minutes-long window to delete your messages. Once that 10 minutes is up, the message is stuck in the conversation permanently.

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Another limitation is that you can only delete messages you have sent. This means if you send a message you regret and the person sees and responds to it, you can only delete the original message you pushed. In other words, the person’s response — which could make it clear what your original message said — will stick around forever, unless they decide to delete it as well within their own 10-minute window.

Finally, although you’ve deleted the message, Facebook still holds onto it for an unannounced length of time. This policy is to prevent bullies from sending nasty messages, deleting them, and then there being no proof the message was ever sent. Facebook did not disclose how long messages will be stored on the server but did say they will eventually be deleted.

How to use Facebook Messenger unsend

With all that in mind, here’s how the process works in the Android app. Check out the screenshots below for more help!

  • First, tap and hold on the message you want to delete to bring up the various options you have for that message.
  • Tap the “remove” option to bring up the secondary menu of remove features.
  • You’re given two options, which are each pretty self-explanatory: Remove for You and Remove for Everyone.
  • Tap the one you like, confirm, and the message vanishes from both sides of the conversation.

When you remove the message, a “tombstone” will be left where the message appeared in the thread. This can’t be removed and each party will see it (consult the screenshots above to see the “tombstone”).

What do you think? Do you see yourself using this feature or is it too limited right now for practical purposes? Let us know what you think in the comments!

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